KYIV \u2013 Carlos Pascual arrived in Kyiv on October 19, 2000, as the fourth United States ambassador to Ukraine. Prior to his appointment, he served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and the senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia at the National Security Council (NSC), posts he held from July 1998 through January 2000. While there as a leading formulator of U.S. policy towards Ukraine, he guid- ed policies to encourage Ukraine\u2019s commitment to democratic and mar- ket reforms, and its integration into Europe.
Mr. Pascual, 42, a career member of the Foreign Service, joined the NSC in June 1995 as director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs. In 1994-1995 he served as deputy assistant administrator for Europe and the New Independent States at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). From 1992 to 1994 Mr. Pascual was the director of the Office of Program Analysis and Coordination for the NIS Task Force, where he helped develop the first U.S. assistance pro- grams for that region.
Mr. Pascual\u2019s first five months as the head of the U.S. mission in Ukraine have been marked by the election of a new president in the United States and a political crisis in Ukraine, events that a new ambassa- dor generally does not confront in the first months of his posting.
The following interview was con- ducted on March 20 at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv to get a perspective from Ambassador Pascual on how U.S.-Ukraine relations are currently evolving given the current political climates in the two countries.
Let\u2019s start at the beginning, how did a Cuban American get to be a Ukraine specialist?
I was born in Cuba and came to the United States when I was 3 years old. One of the values that my parents inculcated in me from the beginning was appreciation for freedom and the importance of people having the opportunity to pursue their dreams and their destinies.
offers comments on
KYIV \u2013 Another unforeseen twist fur- ther complicated efforts to determine who killed Heorhii Gongadze when on March 19 National Deputy Serhii Holovatyi, sec- retary of the ad hoc parliamentary com- mittee investigating the Gongadze affair, announced that DNA testing of what was believed to be a sample tissue of the remains of the missing journalist had
\u201cThe material from a corpse that was handed over by Olena Prytula is not part of the remains of the body of Heorhii Gongadze,\u201d said Mr. Holovatyi.
Ms. Prytula, the colleague of the mur- dered journalist who was the editor-in- chief of the Internet newspaper he pub- lished before he disappeared in mid- September 2000, had turned over to Mr.
\u201cThat is nonsense,\u201d said the president, adding, \u201cLately everything is rumors, rumors, rumors.\u201d
Mr. Kuchma\u2019s comments did little to clear up the murky situation surrounding his internal affairs minister, who remains under political siege, along with the president himself and several other ranking adminis- tration officials, over audiotapes recorded and released by a presidential bodyguard in
November 2000. The tapes, if they are authentic \u2013 a question that has yet to be definitively answered \u2013 implicate the presi- dent, the internal affairs minister and other leading officials in the disappearance of Ukrainian journalist Heorhii Gongadze and a slew of other crimes.
An oppositionist force led by a shaky coalition of leftist and rightist lawmakers and their political parties has mustered
KYIV \u2013 President Leonid Kuchma pub- licly denied on March 21 that he had fired Minister of Internal Affairs Yurii Kravchenko \u2013 five days after the first reports of the possible dismissal of Ukraine\u2019s top cop appeared in the media, some of which had been confirmed by indi- viduals politically close to the president.
In Bakhchesarai at a commemoration of the 150th birthday of a Tatar national hero, President Kuchma, who is vacationing in Crimea, made his first public appearance in nearly a week to quash the rumor.
Asked whether he had signed a decree releasing Mr. Kravchenko, the Ukrainian president bluntly replied, \u201cNo.\u201d In obvious reply to the way this story has been played out in the media without a single comment from the president, Mr. Kuchma added in a curt manner that journalists should simply follow their reports to determine if Mr. Kravchenko would be dismissed in the near future.
LVIV \u2013 Over 3,000 students from var- ious Lviv educational establishments took part in peaceful protests which began in Lviv on March 12. They were protesting mass arrests and other illegal repressions against participants in the demonstration which occurred on March 9 in Kyiv.
On the morning of March 12 students from Lviv National University, the Lviv Theological Academy, the Institute of Physical Education and Lviv Polytechnic University gathered by the statue of Ivan Franko in Lviv to hear the testimony of those students who managed to return suc- cessfully from Kyiv. The students were on edge because of the mass arrests and other illegal repressions against participants in
According to the official numbers, 212 people spent the night in different police stations of the Ukrainian capital \u2013 a large portion of these were students. The phys- ical appearance of some of those coming to the meeting in Lviv was so striking that words were not necessary: they had
PRAGUE \u2013 Ukraine\u2019s Oleksander Razumkov Center of Economic and Political Studies conducted a poll among 2,037 respondents in all Ukrainian regions in late February and early March, asking them a number of questions about their political preferences. Generally, the poll confirmed what had been known before, namely, that Ukrainians remain deeply con- fused about what should be done to improve the situation in the country, as well as extremely distrustful of their leadership and political elite.
However, the poll also showed that the current anti-presidential opposition \u2013 grouped in the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement and the Forum for National Salvation \u2013 cannot count on decisive social support either.
The proposal of the anti-presidential opposition that Ukraine should become a parliamentary republic with a largely cere- monial president, or no president at all, was supported by 16.9 percent of respondents; 46.1 percent were against it; while 37 per- cent were unable to decide on the issue.
The idea of a parliamentary-presidential republic was viewed more favorably: 30.2 percent supported it; 27.4 percent were against it; and 42.4 percent did not provide a definite answer.
Answering the question about who should be afraid of the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement and the Forum for National Salvation, 46.7 percent of respon- dents mentioned President Leonid Kuchma and the state officials who were secretly taped by presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko; 13.6 percent said the groups threaten oligarchic clans; 15.6 percent men- tioned society in general; 11.8 percent said
the threat was directed against Ukrainian citizens; and 6.9 percent mentioned state bodies.
According to 13.8 percent of respon- dents, the anti-presidential opposition is no threat to anybody, while 12.3 percent were unable to answer the question.
The center found that the activity of Prime Minister Viktor Yuschenko is sup- ported by 26.7 percent of Ukrainians (27.2 percent said they do not support him); President Kuchma by 11.4 percent (nega- tive rating: 43.8 percent); the government by 9.7 percent (negative rating: 38.8 per- cent); and the Parliament by 4.5 percent (negative rating: 49.4 percent).
Commenting on why the positive rating of Mr. Yuschenko is higher than that of the government by nearly three to one, Center of Economic and Political Studies head Anatolii Hrytsenko said, \u201cthis testifies to the fact that people do not perceive the gov- ernment as a team of like-minded persons.\u201d
According to the poll, if parliamentary elections were held right now, only the Communist Party would be able to over- come the 4 percent voting threshold neces- sary to win parliamentary seats.
The Communist Party could count on support from 14 percent of Ukrainians, while other parties would obtain far less support: the Democratic Party, 3.7 percent; the Social Democratic Party (United), 3 percent; the National Democratic Party, 2.9 percent; the Democratic Union, 2.5 percent; the Popular Rukh (Udovenko), 2.1 percent; and the Fatherland Party, 1.5 percent.
Of those polled, 36 percent said they would support no party, while 22.7 percent were unable to define their party prefer- ences.
The poll also found that 29 percent of Ukrainians believe Kyiv\u2019s foreign policy has recently taken a pro-Russia slant to the detriment of Ukraine\u2019s relations with the West. Of that number, 50.2 percent assessed this fact positively, 29.7 percent negatively, and 16.3 percent neutrally.
KYIV \u2013 Four Communist lawmakers on March 15 met with Prime MinisterViktor Yuschenko and handed him a list of 17 demands, Interfax reported. In particular, the Communist Party wants the government to switch to a socialist economy, nationalize banks, introduce a planned economy for state enterprises, give official status to the Russian language and break all relations with NATO. National Deputy Oleksander Bondarchuk commented after the meeting that \u201ceach side has remained on its own position.\u201d Mr. Bondarchuk said the Communists will vote to dismiss the Cabinet in a possible no-confidence vote following Mr. Yuschenko\u2019s report to the Parliament on April 10. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko told a Communist rally the same day that the party \u201cwill arouse the people of Ukraine and do away with this regime in a week\u201d if it fails to resign voluntarily. (RFE/RL Newsline)
KYIV \u2013 Prime Minister Viktor Yuschenko on March 20 said he is ready to discuss Cabinet replacements with parlia- mentary groups if new candidates turn out to be \u201cmore rational and constructive\u201d than the current ministers, and if the reshuffle \u201ccements\u201d the pro-government parliamen- tary majority, Interfax reported. Meanwhile, lawmaker Yaroslav Kendzior from Rukh (Udovenko) told the Parliament the same day that \u201cvigorous preparations\u201d are under way to oust the Yuschenko Cabinet and install an \u201coligarchic-leftist regime\u201d in Ukraine. Yurii Kostenko, leader of another Rukh faction, warned that \u201cthe attempts of oligarchs and Communists to start off the government\u2019s dismissal are a full-scale plan to destabilize Ukraine.\u201d (RFE/RL Newsline)
KYIV \u2013 A new deputies\u2019 caucus called Ukraine\u2019s Regions (Rehiony Ukrainy) has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax reported on March 21. The group is led by Donetsk Mayor Volodymyr Rybak and includes five former lawmakers from Revival of Regions, four from Labor Ukraine, and two from the Popular Democratic Party. Revival of Regions leader Oleksander Volkov commented that the creation of the Ukraine\u2019s Regions group is the beginning of a \u201creal break-up\u201d of the pro-government majority. The current array of parliamentary forces is as follows: Communist Party, 112 lawmakers; Social Democratic Party (United), 34; Fatherland, 31; Rukh (Kostenko), 23; National Democratic Party, 18; Greens, 17; Rukh (Udovenko), 16; Left Center (Socialists),
16; Reforms-Congress, 15; Yabluko, 14; Labor Ukraine, 46; Revival of Regions, 30; Solidarnist, 24; and Ukraine\u2019s Regions, 16. (RFE/RL Newsline)
KYIV \u2013 U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual on March 16 criticized the actions of both opposition demonstrators and the authorities during violent protests in Kyiv on March 9. \u201cThe events on March 9 were disappointing from all sides. The challenge for Ukraine\u2019s authorities is to give the peo- ple confidence that they can express dissent without fear of violent repression. Peaceful action is also very important on the part of demonstrators and restraint is also required [on their part],\u201d the Associated Press quoted Mr. Pascual as saying. The envoy spoke after introducing a new $750,000 media development fund in Ukraine, a two-year project sponsored by the U.S. to encourage an independent press. The fund is aimed at improving the legal, administrative and tax environment for Ukrainian media, expand- ing the use of the Internet, improving pro- fessional standards among journalists, and providing direct grant support for Ukrainian media and non-governmental organizations. (RFE/RL Newsline)
DONETSK \u2013 Some 3,000 mostly elder- ly people took part in a march organized by the Communist Party in Donetsk on March 17, Reuters reported. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Leonid Kuchma and Prime MinisterVi k t o r Yuschenko, as well as closer ties between Ukraine and Russia. Some 350 people par- ticipated in a similar rally in Dnipropetrovsk the same day, Interfax reported. Meanwhile, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko told a March 17 conference of lawmakers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia that only a union of those three countries will help Ukraine \u201covercome the misery in which we find ourselves and avoid new threats.\u201d (RFE/RL Newsline)
WARSAW \u2013 Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told his visiting Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, in Kazimerz Dolny on March 15 that he should use not force, but dialogue, for resolving the current political unrest at home, the PAP news agency reported. President Kuchma responded that he is ready for dialogue with the opposition, but only within the framework of the law and the Constitution. Mr. Kuchma added: \u201cWhen the so-called opposition wants to
In Kyiv itself \u201cspecial attention\u201d had been given to people from Lviv, accord- ing to witnesses. Approximately 100 people from Lviv were held at the Kyiv train station on the evening of March 9. Most of them were literally pulled out of train cars and thrown face-first onto the ground of the railroad station.
\u201cThey announced that I was guilty, as if I were a dangerous criminal,\u201d explained Yurko Fedoryshyn, a student of applied mathematics. \u201cWhen it turned out that I had done nothing criminal, no one even said \u2018sorry,\u2019 even though they detained me for over a day.\u201d
Pavlo Aleksandrov, a student on the faculty of journalism of Lviv National University told the newpaper Postup that he was arrested at the train station and hit by the special security forces on the road before a brief trial. \u201cThe trial lasted a few minutes; they didn\u2019t tell me what I was charged with. After the trial I met with other friends of mine who were tried, and it was clear that no one had read any charges to any of them, no one had a chance to defend himself. They just read the verdict. The result was either to scare us or to discourage us from traveling to Kyiv again,\u201d he related.
Yurii Volkolhon, a philosophy student, was hastily tried by a female judge and two policemen, \u201cIt looked like they had
grabbed the judge from her home in a hurry, because I think she was in a house coat, covered by her judge\u2019s robe,\u201d he said.
Already on the second day of the protests, students from all the higher edu- cational establishments in Lviv joined in \u2013 regardless of announcements by some administrators that all students who par- ticipated in the protests would be expelled. Only the rectors of a few insti- tutions unambiguously announced that no administrative sanctions would be applied to those students who were exer- cising their civil rights via these political activities.
Though the demonstrations in Kyiv culminated in violence, the Lviv protests were peaceful. On both days the demon- strators were escorted by policemen and generally marched on the sidewalks in long columns. Contrary to various reports, no efforts have been made to deport rectors who are American citizens.
The solidarity of the students pro- duced quick results. On the evening of March 14 all those from Lviv who were being detained in Kyiv were released, even those who previously had been ille- gally sentenced to 15 days.
On March 15, Mykola Zhulynskyi, vice prime minister of culture, met with all the rectors of higher educational establishments in Lviv at a closed meet- ing. He warned about the danger of destabilization in Ukraine and the manip- ulation of student activists, but also stressed that repression against students should be excluded.
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Jan Maksymiuk is the Belarus, Ukraine and Poland specialist on the staff of RFE/RL Newsline.
Anatolii Danilov\u2019s first book, \u201cThe Ukrainian Flotilla: Near the Well of Rebirth,\u201d documents the events that occurred in Sevastopol and the Black Sea Fleet just before and after the declaration of Ukraine\u2019s independence.
Capt. 1st Class Danilov, who was responsible for the formation of the first Ukrainian Navy Television and Radio Center in Sevastopol in the early 1990s, chronicles the political intrigue and the social climate in Kyiv and Sevastopol dur- ing those days and months. Today Capt. Danilov is assistant director of the Nakhimov Naval Institute of Sevastopol.
The book, written in the Ukrainian lan- guage, is the first tome of a history of the Ukrainian navy that Capt. Danilov is preparing. The second tome is due out in time for the jubilee celebrations of Ukrainian independence in August.
The following edited interview (the first part of which was published last week) was conducted in Kyiv in mid-February.
Do you believe there are perspectives for future cooperation between the Ukrainian navy and the Black Sea Fleet?
Basically, there is a future. When I am with the students, the future officers of Ukraine, I tell them: \u201cWe are citizens of Ukraine, we have our laws, we have our territory, our Constitution, we have our mil- itary oath, and we must understand what this means.\u201d
But on the question of maintaining good relations, my God, of course, we should. Whether it is with Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania or with the U.S., with whom I must say we have excellent relations. I have spent time with the U.S.S. LaSalle of the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, with the officers, their wives and girls, with students. This is not a state secret, and I willingly tell many people, including my students at the institute, that we have great relations with the U.S. Navy.
When we have held joint exercises, either with the U.S. fleet, or the Turks, the Bulgarians, the Italians, certain patriotic forces [in Sevastopol] have demonstrated with slogans like \u201cNATO get out!\u201d and similar things.
What I would like to say here is that relations with Russia or some other country should not be different than normal rela- tions with any country. I want to under- score this. We are a normal civilized coun- try that shows respect and expects that we should receive respect in turn.
What is the current situation of the Ukrainian navy? Is it adequately financed? Are its needs being met?
Its authority is growing. However, there has been a declining amount of production of new vessels lately. This is not normal. Last year on August 1, on the deck of the frigate Hetman Sahaidachny, President Leonid Kuchma said questions regarding the completion of construction of the mis- sile cruiser Ukraina must be resolved.
Yesterday I had discussions with leading figures of the government. About 95 per- cent of the ship is complete. It needs about another 10 million hrv for completion. I think the government will find the financ- ing. It has been under construction for more than 10 years now, since Soviet times. When they asked me if we need the ship, I said, yes, of course. Let\u2019s not forget it car- ries the name Ukraina.
And, of course, we hope that a decision will be made on the submarine Zaporizhia, which is currently docked in Balaklava. All it needs is batteries \u2013 an investment of sev-
eral million dollars. That issue also has dragged on. We thought that Russia would provide help, now it looks like perhaps Germany may do so. We need to resolve this matter.
I think that if President Kuchma achieves what he proposed while on the Sahaidachny last August, that the Ukrainian navy must have a separate line item in the national budget, it would benefit not only the seafaring forces but also the country as a whole.
How is the Nakhimov Naval Institute of Sevastopol doing? Does it have a full complement of cadets?
I have been the assistant director of the institute for seven years now, and I want to tell you honestly that with each year the quality of the educational process and the level of military discipline increases.
Let me give you an example that is not among the fondest of my memories. The learning process is, above all, a matter of discipline: how an individual carries him- self, how he carries out his duties, etc. In 1994 there were more than 90 criminal acts in the institute, but in 2000 there was only one, for practical purposes. And I say for practical purposes because the navy procu- rator filed no complaints last year, but we at the institute determined one criminal mat- ter.Today we have about 1,000 cadets.
Recently, state quotas have shrunk slightly for cadets as future officers. This is because all the structures [of the Ukrainian navy], today are working more efficiently. No longer are we simply gathering cadres to feed and train them, only to be unable to place them. We no longer are telling gradu- ates, \u201cCongratulations, here\u2019s your diploma \u2013 and now go out onto the street in search for a job!\u201d Now we have a better idea of our needs.
Last year a navy college began to func- tion at the institute, which is the warrant officer level of naval personnel, the right hand of the officer, who will study for two years, eight months. The courses have been extended for eight months from what was offered during Soviet times to make room for new technologies, computer training, international relations study and language training.
As embarrassing as it is for me to talk about the need to learn the Ukrainian lan- guage, it is only common sense. But here we are talking about foreign language train- ing, and especially the English language. The fleet travels the world, and the most common language used is the English lan- guage.
Our institution is in pretty good shape physically, although some remodeling still needs to be done. We have a sound peda- gogical-teaching foundation with more than 100 academics. This number is con- stantly rising.
The Ministry of Defense has shown much support for our efforts. Minister of Defense Oleksander Kuzmuk has paid four visits to the institute. What institute can say that it has been visited four times by the minister?
He has set a goal for us: that within two to three years \u2013 sometime between 2002 and 2003 \u2013 we become a naval academy. As you can well imagine, this is a serious undertaking. This means a level four of accreditation of all our departments, and we have more than 20. Currently we have several departments with level four accred- itation. This involves increasing further the number of academicians, guaranteeing the number of personal computers, raising the material and social resources.
WASHINGTON \u2013 The United States has put Ukraine on notice: either curb the production and export of pirated compact discs (CDs) or face U.S. trade sanctions and other punitive action.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on March 13 designated Ukraine as a \u201cPriority Foreign Country\u201d under the \u201cSpecial 301\u201d program designed to advance the protection of intellectual property rights.
The USTR statement noted that for more than two years the U.S. govern- ment has been urging the Ukrainian government to close down illegal CD production facilities and enact legisla- tion to adequately protect copyrights.
\u201cDespite many promises, including high-level commitments made in June 2000, the Ukrainian government has been unwilling to curtail the activities of these pirates,\u201d the USTR said.
The American CD industry now con- siders Ukraine \u201cthe largest producer and exporter\u201d of pirated optical disks in Europe. Last year it was characterized as \u201cone of the largest.\u201d The USTR said that Ukraine\u2019s exports of pirated CDs are \u201cdisrupting markets throughout the region and beyond.\u201d
With the \u201cPriority Foreign Country\u201d designation in effect, the USTR has ini- tiated an official investigation of
Ukraine\u2019s practices and has requested consultations with its government. If Ukraine fails to address these concerns within three months, it may face the imposition of trade sanctions, jeopardize its entry into the World Trade Organization and undermine its efforts to attract trade and investment.
The U.S. recording industry esti- mates that for each of the last two years, with an annual domestic demand of 5 million CDs, Ukraine has produced and exported between 30 and 40 million pirated CDs. According to the USTR, Ukraine has the capacity to produce up to 70 million pirated CDs per year.
The USTR says that Ukraine has become a world leader in pirated CD production, which is costing the U.S. recording industry more than $200 mil- lion in lost revenue annually.
In June 2000 President Kuchma com- mitted Ukraine to undertake a number of measures against this kind of piracy:
\u2022 adopt proper optical media produc- tion and distribution regulations and monitor raw material, manufacturing equipment and CD exports;
\u2022 improve significantly its copyright law and implement a modern copyright regime.
\u201cTo date,\u201d the USTR maintains, \u201cUkraine has not met any of these com- mitments.\u201d
be hosting foreign students. Already there are plans for Chinese students. We have had Pakistani students. About 50 Greek cadets recently took special courses here, among them officers. As you have read in the press, Greece has bought Ukrainian- made vessels and there were training cours- es. You can say that Ukraine is slowly becoming a naval incubator.
Unfortunately not all [instructors] do so. But even here there have been improve- ments. There is the Ukrainian language department. There are other departments where many of the instructors now teach in the state language.
But I have to say that the psychological situation of Sevastopol \u2013 75 percent of the residents are Russian \u2013 exerts pressure. Our boys, our cadets from western Ukraine, from the Khmelnytskyi and Chernivtsi oblasts, even they become entrapped by the omnipresence of the Russian language. When I confront them with, \u201cWhy are you giving in, I have pinned my hopes on you,\u201d they reply, \u201cWell, you know, this is Sevastopol.\u201d
This may sound like sloganeering, but it is true that to live in a society and remain removed from it is very difficult.
On the grounds of the territory of the institute we try to encourage them to speak the state language \u2013 of course we can\u2019t force them to. But outside the grounds I would say that 100 percent, or nearly 100 percent of them, speak Russian.
As for my own family, my wife speaks Ukrainian, as does my oldest daughter. But my younger daughter speaks it more poorly because in the schools [of Sevastopol] they don\u2019t teach it at all. They teach German, English, but they don\u2019t teach Ukrainian, the state language. We already have approached the city council on this matter.
gradually, even if slowly, and perhaps not as quickly as some would like, positive changes are taking place. This goes without saying.
And the last question, what provoked you to write yourbook, \u201cThe Ukrainian Fleet: Near the Well of Rebirth?\u201d
There is a whole complex of reasons that I decided to write the book. When I was under the command of Vice-Admiral Borys Kozhyn, today a national deputy and the director of the Union of Officers of Ukraine, who is my military brother and friend, I never thought about writing a book. It was a time of great stress, psycho- logical conflicts and so on.
But the years moved on, the situation changed, destiny threw me around to vari- ous posts. At some point I thought, \u201cWhat a complicated time. So much is going on.\u201d Whether I wanted to or not, I found myself at the epicenter of these events. If I don\u2019t document this, explain how it all occurred and how we worked, then others will try to do so. I am convinced they can\u2019t offer a more objective version. One needed to have been steeped in that environment.
I am not the first to write on this theme. There are two other books out, but I found them not to be objective, they were written to please a certain audience. I am not going to say whether it was a country or some certain element of Ukrainian society. These were the reasons. As I returned via train to Sevastopol in April 1994 [to take up the post of second in command at the institute] the plan for the book developed.
I must tell you it was very difficult to put this book together. It was not just collecting the information that was difficult. I had to find all the financing myself. The diaspora, specifically in the United States \u2013 Vasyl Mackiw, who lives in Florida, and the Ukrainian Social Services organizations in
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